Liam O’Mahony of the Great Southern Trail Group and Majella O’Brien, Limerick City and County Council, accepting the special jury award from President of the European Greenway Association, Giulio Sene
LIMERICK’S pioneering work in developing the Great Southern Greenway has been recognised by the European Greenways Association when it held its first-ever conference in Ireland.
At an awards ceremony in Adare last week, where the conference took place, a special jury award was jointly made to the Great Southern Trail Group and Limerick City and County Council.
Accepting the award on behalf of the Great Southern Trail Group, founding member and current chairman, Liam O’Mahony said he was very happy to do so.
“It is a great recognition of the Great Southern Greenway, which has the signal honour of being the first long-distance greenway in the country,” he said. The award also recognised the huge voluntary effort and work carried out by members of the Trail Group for 25 years until it was taken over by Limerick City and County Council in 2015.
“It’s now 30 years since the idea was first suggested of a walk and cycle way along the bed of the old Limerick and North Kerry railway,” Mr O’Mahony explained. At that time, the tracks were taken up and sold off to Sudan.
Bit by bit, the Great Southern Trail was developed by the trail group and it is now a full 40km greenway from Rathkeale to the Kerry border.
The trail group hopes that this will be extended further in the coming years and run from Limerick to Tralee.
Majella O’Brien accepted the award on behalf of Limerick City and County Council.
The Great Southern Greenway is part of Euro-Velo 1, the walk and cycle trail which runs from Portugal all along the Atlantic seaboard to Norway.
The European Greenways Association (EGWA), which made the special jury award was established in 1998 in Namur in Belgium with the aim of encouraging the creation and promotion of greenways across Europe and includes 16 different countries. The international jury gave excellence awards to greenways in Belgium/Germany, Serbia and Portugal.